When you ask us to do your customs clearance we request you provide us with an Authority to Act. Let’s explore the – why?

What is the authority to act?

This Authority to Act (or Letter of Authority)  is a document that authorises a customs broker to provide customs clearance for your cargo on your behalf.

Your customs broker should not clear the goods without the authority to act on your behalf. An Authority to act provides the licensed customs broker authority under the Customs Act 1901 to act on behalf of an importer or owner of the goods for the purposes of submitting an import declaration for import goods.

The Customs Act Section 181 (1) (Cth) states:

“Subject to subsection (2), an owner of goods may, in writing, authorise a person to be his or her agent for the purposes of the Customs Act at a place or places specified by the owner. “

What are the implications of not having an authority to act?

Not having appropriate permission to act on behalf of an owner of the goods may be considered a strict liability offence. This brings with it expensive penalties and business implications for both the importer or owner and the customs broker.

Whilst it is explicitly considered an offence for a licensed customs broker to enter the goods for home consumption without written authority from the owner of the goods.  It is prudent for any licensed customs broker purporting to act on behalf of the owner of the goods to have explicit authority to do so and also acceptance of their trading terms and conditions.

Details in an authority to act?

The business or personal details collected by an Authority to Act also provide a licensed customs brokerage with information prudent to registering the importer’s details in the ICS system. This includes a businesses registered ABN, trading name or business names.

They may also request details as to a businesses GST or DGST status to be confirmed.

Who can request an authority to act?

A . Licensed Corporate Customs Brokerages and their nominees

Customs Brokers Pty Ltd is a licensed corporate customs brokerage with nominee customs brokers. We can request authorization from our importing clients directly with our tailored authority to act to provide our customs clearance services to you. Any licensed brokerage should and will do the same.

Customs clearance is an important service and the expertise required to perform such services correctly and within the legislative requirements should not be overlooked.

B. Freight Forwarders acting as agents on behalf of their clients/importers

It has become an increasingly common practice for freight forwarders and others who are not licensed Customs Brokers to describe their businesses as customs brokerages and to advertise that the services they provide include customs brokerage. This practice is of concern and may contravene the prohibitions on false and misleading representation that are set out in Australian consumer law.

These freight forwarders may be holding themselves as an agent of the importer, advising they can arrange customs services as an agent and may also request an authority to act. This would be in addition or complementary to that of the authority from the importer requested by the customs brokerage.

A forwarder may request an authority to act for an appointed customs brokerage, such as Customs Brokers Pty Ltd requesting the brokerage to act as their authorised agent if they are not a corporate licensed brokerage themselves. This is legal.

We love to assist freight forwarders who do not have an in house customs broker help their clients clear their goods. We fit seamlessly into the process and are a valuable extension of their business.

What does OUR authority to act look like?

You can find a copy of our authority to act on our website HERE.

We have 3 types of authorities:

One for standard business importers who hold an ABN

One for individuals importing goods without an ABN/business

And lastly one for Forwarders of which we act on their behalf and their clients’ behalf for clearances

We will shortly have all of these as electronic forms to make it easier for our customers.

(Note: Photo by Janson K. from Pexels)